Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Mistakes are costly in do-it-yourself investing, and never mind your bad stock and fund picks.

You opened a small registered retirement savings plan account with an online broker without checking its annual administration fees? Ka-ching. That could cost you $100 per year. You chose a broker without really checking it out, and now you want to move? Ka-ching. That could cost you as much as $135.

In the online brokerage business, small investors too often pay big fees. Fight back by consulting the Portfolio Strategy column's second annual roundup of fees for online brokerage registered accounts.

Story continues below advertisement

Low fees are a foundation of effective do-it-yourself investing, but they're not the only factor in choosing a broker. For more commentary on the 12 firms listed here, check out the Globe and Mail's current ranking of online brokers.

The DIY Investor's Ultimate Registered Account Fee Guide

















Here's a comparison of fees and commissions charged by 12 online brokerages for self-directed registered retirement savings plans, registered retirement income funds, tax-free savings accounts and registered education savings plans. All costs apply to online transactions.















Annual Admin Fee For Small Accounts

Minimum Account Size

Withdrawal Fees

Transfer-Out Fees

Minimum Stock Trading Commission For Smaller Accounts

Stock-Trading Commission For Large Or Active Accounts

Fees To Buy Or Sell Mutual Funds

BMO InvestorLine ( bmoinvestorline.com)

RRSP

$100

$5,000

$50

$50/$135

$29

$9.95

none for most funds

RRIF

none

$5,000

none

$50/$135



TFSA

$50

none

none

$50/$135

RESP

$50

none

none

$50/$135

Notes

~RRSP admin fees waived for accounts of $15,000 more more, TFSA admin fees are waived when your assets at InvestorLine hit $100,000 or more

~As of March 10, it will take $25,000 in assets to avoid the fee on RRSP and RESP accounts.

~most funds sold without fees, others with a $35 charge to buy, sell or switch

CIBC Investor's Edge ( investorsedge.cibc.com)

RRSP

$100

none

$50

$135

$28.95

$7.90

none

RRIF

$100

none

none

$135

TFSA

none

none

none

$135

RESP

$50

none

none

$135

Notes

~RRSP, RRIF admin fee waived for accounts of $25,000 or more; RESP fee wavied at $15,000

~FundPlus registered accounts (funds and bonds or GICS only) cost $25 per year to $25,000

~the minimum stock trading commission applies if you prepay $395 per year for 50 trades

Credential Direct ( credentialdirect.com)

RRSP

$50

none

$50

$75/$125

$19

$9.95

none

RRIF

$50

none

none

$75/$125

TFSA

none

none

none

$75/$125

RESP

none

none

none

$75/$125

Notes

~RRSP, RRIF admin fee waived for accounts of $15,000 or more

~Admin fees for small RRSPs and RRIFs with funds and bonds/GICs reduced to $25 per year.

Disnat ( disnat.com)

RRSP

$100

$1,000

$25

$25/$125

$29

$9.95

none for most funds

RRIF

$100

$1,000

none

$25/$125



TFSA

none

$1,000

none

$25/$125

RESP

$50

$1,000

none

$25/$125

Notes

~RRSP, RRIF, RESP admin fees waived for accounts of $15,000 or more

~some funds cost $32 to buy, sell or switch

HSBC InvestDirect ( investdirect.hsbc.ca)

RRSP

$50

none

$75

$125

$29

$9.98

none

RRIF

$50

none

none

$125

TFSA

none

none

none

$125

RESP

$50

none

none

$125

Notes

~RRSP and RRIF admin fees waived for accounts of $15,000 or more

National Bank Direct ( nbdb.ca)

RRSP

$100

none

$50

$135

$28.95

$9.95

none

RRIF

$100

none

none

$135

TFSA

$50

none

none

$135

RESP

$50

none

none

$135

Notes

~RRSP, RRIF and RESP admin fees waived for acccounts of $25,000 or more; TFSA fee cancelled if you have $100,000+ with NBDB, if you generated a trade commission in the past 12 months or hold only National Bank products

Qtrade Investor ( qtrade.ca)

RRSP

$50

$1,000

$50

$125

$19

$9.95

none

RRIF

$50

$1,000

none

$125

TFSA

none

$1,000

none

$125

RESP

$50

$1,000

$50

$125

Notes

~RRSP, RRIF, RESP admin fee waived for acccounts of $15,000 or more

~$19 minimum stock-trading commission applies to market orders; limit orders cost $4 extra

Questrade ( questrade.com)

RRSP

none

$1,000

$25

$25/$125

$4.95

$4.95

$9.95

RRIF

none

$1,000

none

$25/$125

TFSA

none

$1,000

none

$25/$125

RESP

none

$1,000

none

$25/$125

RBC Direct Investing ( rbcdirectinvesting.com)

RRSP

$75

none

$50

$135

$28.95

$9.95

none

RRIF

$75

none

none

$135

TFSA

none

none

none

$135

RESP

$50

none

none

$135

Notes

~RRSP, RRIF and RESP admin fee waived for acccounts of $25,000 or more

Scotia iTrade ( scotiaitrade.com)

RRSP

none

none

$25

$125

$19.99

$9.99

none

RRIF

none

none

none

$125

TFSA

none

none

none

$125

RESP

none

none

none

$125

Notes

~$9.99 commissions kick in for accounts of $50,000 or more

ScotiaMcLeod Direct ( scotiamcleoddirect.com)

RRSP

$100

none

$25

$125

$28.95

$14.95

none

RRIF

$100

none

none

$125

TFSA

none

none

none

$125

RESP

$25

none

none

$125

Notes

~RRSP admin fee waived for acccounts of $25,000 or more

TD Waterhouse ( tdwaterhouse.ca)

RRSP

$100

none

$25

$135

$29

$9.99

none in most cases

RRIF

$100

none

none

$135



TFSA

$50

none

1 free/year

$135

RESP

$50

none

none

$135



Follow me on Facebook. I'm at Rob Carrick - Personal Finance.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies